Friday, April 18, 2014

Freeform Friday

Few Words

Wishing you a peaceful Easter weekend.

I apologize ahead of time that this video is sideways. I filmed it on a Sunday morning when we visited Rome. I have no idea how to fix it. I thought you'd enjoy the bells of Rome regardless............ just lovely.


Here's a better look at our view.

Some things I'm looking forward to this holiday weekend.

- getting out in nature where I feel closest to God
- taking two days off and enjoying some downtime away from the computer
- seeing old friends
- spending Easter with family
- skyping with our Irish family 
- the Easter feast at my brother in law Al and sister Di's house which includes: a beautiful baked ham with pineapple sauce, a smoked turkey, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, cheesy broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, tourtierre, sweet and sour cabbage, salad, rolls, fruit compote, brownies....the list goes on and on and on. Nothing like homemade food to say LOVE.
- Easter eggs
- The Egg Hunt
- jelly beans
- malted milk eggs
- being in the moment and thankful for all of my blessings

A few Easter throwback posts:
and Here

Worth a look, if just for some of the sunset pictures.

However you'll be spending the weekend, I hope you truly enjoy it.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Worth A Look

Links To Link

Hi gang? How goes it? Today, I can say, most of the snow we woke up to yesterday morning has melted. Can I get an amen on that one? Amen and Halleluiah. If it only felt more like spring........ah well, the sun is shining the sky is blue.........all is right with the world.

You know when you're looking for one thing on the web, you can get easily distracted by something else, and then something else? Before you know it, it's like your missed your connecting flight to Phoenix, boarded a different plane altogether and ended up in New Zealand. Then, you have no idea how you really got there, but you're like this new hitch in your plans none the less.

Well, that's how I found these links that I think you'll find to be worth a look. I wasn't really looking for them, but I found them.  Check 'em out.........

I regret to say that I had not heard of madesmith previous to stumbling upon their site.  I'm not sure why as it is totally in line with my thinking. Here's a little excerpt from their site: 

"We believe in 'buy less, buy well'. By knowing where our things come from and who makes them, not only do we cherish the things we have, we also become more aware of the environmental impact of our purchases. Through connecting with the makers, we support our local communities and preserve the craftsmanship that becomes part of our everyday culture. Madesmith brings you the stories of makers and designers who produce handmade objects sustainably."

The makesmith site is beautiful to look at the stories of the makers full of variety and quite interesting to read.

Have you heard of Rena Tom? Rena is what she refers to herself as a 'serial entrepreneur, and in fact founded the makeshift society- 'a co-working space and clubhouse for creatives in San Francisco'.  She is also a creative consultant. Today I came across this article Rena wrote about transparency in your business and marketing.

Very interesting topic and she brings up some great points that should be considered by creative business owners and business owners in general.

Have you found anything lately (online or off) that you weren't looking, but felt was worth the detour? 

Ah Thursday. Friday is just a day away.  Make it a fantastic kind of day, won't you?

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Inspires You Wednesday: Strength

You Are Enough

As I mentioned yesterday, I had coverage of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings on in the background yesterday while working away in the studio.

Here's the thing: I had to get up several times as they interviewed survivors because what they had to say was incredibly inspiring. Whether it was something like, "I may have lost my leg, but I kept my walk-up apartment because I love it. It's my home" or, "Getting up to walk was quite emotional because I hadn't even stood in such a long time.  I knew I wanted to and would dance again" or  or "I want to go to the marathon to see the people running just like I used to do. To be a part of that awesome atmosphere again. I know until I do that I won't be able to put this all behind me". I may not have the words quite right, but the common sentiment shines through.

What this group of survivors has is strength. They may not always believe they do, but they have showed the world that they are enough to face whatever comes their way.

When I checked my instagram feed this morning, this popped up from Natalia Benson, a jewelry designer/tarot card reader/DJ (talk about variety....).  Her tarot card for the day yesterday just happened to be 'strength'.

Natalia wrote this: "We are such complex and powerful beings: our solar energy (conscious mind) when united with our lunar energy (unconscious mind) is self empowering - we no longer act from sheer impulse or panic of pain from the past- strength is trusting that the totality of what and who we are is enough, we know what to do and we are so capable of everything we set our mind to".

Interesting that her random tarot pick coincided with the first anniversary of the bombings and more importantly with the stories of the survivors. 

A true depiction of strength were the Norden brothers, JP and Paul, each of whom lost a leg and who chose to walk the marathon route yesterday simply because "Our supporters had walked the route shortly after we were injured and we knew with their support, we could do", and they did.  The brothers, along with family and friends started their trek in the morning, followed closely by a trolley so they could take breaks.  In the end, they crossed the finish line around 6:30 pm and the pair had walked more than 7 miles of the 26.  I'd say they exhibited enormous strength.

Here's a video of JP and Paul, their mother Liz and their entire group crossing the finish line. I might have been in my living room, but I assure you I cheered them on.  If you think you can't do something, I suggest you watch this and remind yourself that you are enough, that you can do whatever you set your mind to. 

Strength. That's what is inspiring me on this Wednesday. What's inspiring you?

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Good Reminder: What I Chose For My Custom Bangle

Did You Guess Right?

I have to say, it was a nice little surprise to get something in the mail, other than bills.

It was even nicer because it was my custom sterling bangle.  Remember, I told you about it last week......I won it from Sima G in a giveaway hosted by my blogging pal Diana over at exPress-o. Sweet!

All I had to do was decide what I was going to have Sima stamp on my bangle.  So many choices, but in the end I went with...........drum roll please...................... (Debbi, you got it!)

I thought it would be a great daily reminder to make the most of each day.

It's perfectly wonderful.  Thanks again Diana and Sima!

I also think that this little wrist reminder is especially powerful on this 1 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. In the background of my studio, I have one of our Boston stations on and they have extended coverage today with many stories from survivors.  Survivors like Marc Fucarile who lost one leg, is burned extensively over the other, had serious damage to his ear drums, and was the last survivor to leave Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.  He has since had to undergo two other surgeries and the doctors are trying to save his remaining leg, but it is still in question as to whether that will be the outcome. He experiences excruciating pain and the burns he suffered have further complicated his healing. 

In an interview a reporter asked Marc and his fiancee Jen if they were nervous about the marathon next week and attending any of the events that will be held for the survivors. Jen answered immediately and said that she was definitely nervous,  "I'll never be as carefree as I used to be."  The other day Jen went to leave their apartment, but when she got to the elevator there was a bin in it. She went back to their apartment and said to Marc, "There is a bin in the elevator. I'm not getting in there."

It turns out somebody was simply moving and the bin was theirs, but the story illustrates how their lives have forever changed. Marc takes it all in stride and says he's not particularly nervous about Marathon day, to the chagrin of Jen who says 'I don't think everything has set in for him yet.' Marc responds, "No. I do. I just choose not to live in the past. If I 'live' in that day, I can't move forward and I want to move forward."  Marc then proceeds to lift his prosthetic leg (which is attached) up , turn it one 180 and put it over his shoulder and behind his ear and says with a chuckle, "how many people do you know who can do that?"

Theirs is just one story of resilience after surviving the bombings. Just one of many.

Then there are the stories of the four people who lost their lives as result of the bombings and ensuing melee - 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old spectator Krystle Campbell and MIT officer Shawn Collier. God rest their souls.

live . love . laugh

The kind of reminder we really shouldn't need, but the reality is that sometimes we do.

Make it a great day today. It's a great day to have.

Ciao for now,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Rituals

Changing of Seasons

Living in a place where we have the extremes of all four seasons, I think it's a given that there are also rituals associated with each season. Whether we are welcoming, or saying goodbye.

Spring has been a long time coming, and so has one of my favorite Spring Rituals.

The day I get to sit on my back stoop and have a morning cuppa tea.

I finally got that day last week and have been enjoying it when it's warm enough, ever since.

Today is exceptional. So instead of sitting and watching another few minutes of the news, I sit outside on the back stoop with a cuppa tea. I take in the sunshine. Gather a little inspiration for the studio from whatever magazines I have on hand. I listen to the birds sing and the trees rustle.  Enjoy the fresh air and the sight of the trees budding.

It's a sort of meditation for me, when everything else can wait a few minutes while I appreciate the season that is Spring.

Do you have a favorite Spring Ritual?

Hope you have a fantastic start to the week. In fact, make it so!

Happy Monday

Ciao for now,

Friday, April 11, 2014

FREE Friday: The Best Of Lists..........So Much To Be Grateful For

Write It Down

To top of yesterday's post, about 5 Quick Tips For Dealing With What Life Throws At You, I have one more to add. It's one of my favorites. Something we should do more often and a great way to start each day.  Honestly and truly. Each day.

As we near the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, there are many interviews with the survivors and I find them utterly amazing and inspirational.  Instead of looking getting sucked up into the vortex of all that's gone wrong with their lives, they choose to look at what's gone right. In spite of everything, they find they are grateful for so much- both large and small, and that's part of what has gotten them through.  I watched Heather Abbot (who lost on of her legs from the knee down) this morning in an interview and she expressed how grateful she was for the support of the city, and the country, and from people worldwide. That there were some days when she didn't even want to get up off of the couch, but she was lucky that people - even famous people like Beyonce- who had reached out to her and according to Heather 'how do you say no to Beyonce?'. She was grateful for the strength that every one's support gave her to face the challenges of the last year.

Pretty amazing outlook, yes?

So, how do you incorporate that kind of gratefulness into your own life?

It's really not that hard. Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for at the start of each day. They can be big (I am grateful that I have a roof over my head), or small (I am grateful that I was able to enjoy a cuppa tea this morning on my back stoop), because you'll find it doesn't matter. You'll find that the simple act of recognizing how much you have to be grateful for changes your outlook on things.

I challenge you to start this ritual. To help you along, I designed this Free Printable Grateful List.  It prints 4 to an 8.5 x 11 page and there is enough room at the top should you want to punch holes in it and string a few together to make a pad.

Look at that, a blank slate each and every day.

This free printable grateful list makes it easy for you to take a moment and reflect on all that is right with your life.

You can download it here.

My 5 today?

Easy peasy.

1. It's Friday. I love Friday's. It's usually a busy day, but somehow it is a day to wrap things up, tie up lose ends and generally speaking it has a slower feel even if I'm busy. All hail Fridays!

2. The company of two office dogs today. We're taking care of our neighbors pooch and there's nothing like a little puppy love to make your day better.

3. G. My other half. I'm so glad I've got him.

4. The weather is fairly springlike at the moment. Though the sun isn't shining brightly, the warmth is quite welcome.

5. So many people around the world who take the time to be here. Thanks you guys!

BIG  Bonus..........

6. People and fellow Boston Survivors like Heather Abbott, Celeste, and Jeff Bauman who somehow find the strength to face huge life challenges head on and head held high.

What about you? What's your 5?

Freeform Friday

Well, I'm quite sure I've shared this before, but I think it's rather appropriate for today's post because each day is a blessing and it is a beautiful day. And honestly, it just makes me feel good. Thanks Ziggy.  Click here if you're reading via email.

No big plans on the horizon for the weekend, other than hopefully getting in a campfire out back at some point. Tonight isn't look great because there is some rain heading our way. Perhaps a game or Yahtzee or scrabble.....a drive to get some fresh work at my cleaning. That reminds me, I have a load of laundry I need to hang out on the line.

Away I go.

Make it a great day and 'keep your head up high'.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

5 Tips For Dealing With What Life Throws At You

Dear Life: Ow. I Wasn't Ready To Catch That!  

I had another post planned today. One that included pictures from pinterest. However, there are so many pictures on pinterest that are not linked back to their original source that I could just scream.  What that means in plain English is, I gave up.

So, instead, quick tips for dealing with what life throws at you and how to get through those moments that make you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Note: life will throw stuff at you. A lot. This I know to be true. These tips are easy to remember and easy to employ.

1. Remember to Breathe
This seems like a given, but in times of stress you'll find that you can get all locked up and tight and honestly, completely forget to take deep, cleansing breaths. You can also forget during less stressful times. So all together now, breathe in deeply. Breathe out deeply. I like to take it a step further and use yoga breathing, or Pranayama and you can learn how to properly breathe this way here. It can do wonders.

2. Laugh As Much As Possible
Imagine, if a smile is a mood changer (literally, there is plenty of research on it) what would laughter do for you?  Even at times of major upheaval or challenge, when you can find something to laugh about you'll feel all the better for it.  Remember, sometimes if you don't laugh, you'd cry.

3. Do What You Can, When You Can
That is to say, don't expect too much from yourself. You are not a superhero.  Everyone deals with things in their own way and in their own time. Do what you 'can' do at that moment, and don't focus on what you can't do. Leave it at that.

4. Take Time For Yourself
If we could only remember this one thing, we'd all be better for it. Whether it's a moment of sitting in the sunshine, taking a walk, having a cuppa tea, or taking a bath- stealing moments that are just for us can help us be 'in the moment' and wash away the rest of the flotsam and jetsam.

5. Do Something For Somebody Else
Did life throw you a curve ball? Facing a big challenge? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Take a break from 'your' stuff for a minute by doing something for someone else. It can be someone you're close to, or perhaps a random act of kindness for a stranger, but when you do something for someone else it just makes you feel better immediately. Give and you shall receive (perhaps a small bit of peace).

What do you do when life is overwhelming you for whatever reason? Do you have a coping strategy that helps get you through until things are better? And it's OK if it's a bowl of ice cream. Really.

Here's hoping life throws you a spoon for the ice cream today, instead of a curve ball.

Make it a great one.

Ciao for now,

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